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“It’s been an incredible journey,” U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-New Mexico, said of her term representing the state’s 2nd Congressional District.
Her priorities going forward are three-fold, she said.
“Overall, it’s the border, energy and the economy as a whole,” she said during a recent visit to Las Cruces that included a stop at the Bulletin offices. “And certainly, we are watching what is happening on the global scale as it relates to this aggression into Ukraine and how this now shifts conversations and what we do on a global stage.”
Border security is a big deal, she said, calling it an open border. Herrell said that the influx of drugs across the border and human trafficking are also concerns.
“We really don’t know who is coming into our country,” she said.
In terms of energy, Herrell said, it plays a big role in New Mexico’s general revenue fund and it’s a big deal to look at the country’s energy as it relates to global standing and national security.
“Energy feeds the world and with this uptick in inflation I think we are going to see some real burden,” she said. “It’s already starting in our ag industries in terms of food production.”
People may not realize how much the oil/fuel market affects everything, she said. The regulatory arm of everything is starting to impact farmers and ranchers – from fertilizers to desalination production. Farms have $750,000 tractors sitting there unused because they are waiting for emission monitors, Herrell said.
“I think we’re going to see a real rise in the cost of food in the next few months,” she said. “Those (regulatory issues) are the sorts of things that are going to impact groceries.”
She said the country must be realistic about energy.
“By and large most people, unless they are very familiar with the industry, don’t realize the day-to-day products that are touched by fossil fuel,” she said. “There are plastics, medical equipment, clothes, makeup, eyeglasses, asphalt, batteries – the whole nine yards. It’s not so simple as turning on the car and turning off the car.”
One of the disturbing things she has seen as she navigates the Washington D.C. legislative culture, Herrell said, is the lack of willingness to work together for the good of the people. A lot of the policies that are being bickered over are costing people more to heat their homes and feed their families, she said.
The divisiveness, she said, extends to everybody. People have gotten a little lazy, where they don’t go and verify what they see on Facebook and other social media.
“People are getting disrespectful,” she said. “I believe social media has had this effect – in how people communicate – we have lost the art of sitting down to communicate.”
Relationships are the most important part of her job, she said. That’s why she visits with the communities she represents.
Part of staying in touch with her district includes offices in the area including Las Cruces. She has advisory councils set up to address and discuss the concerns of people including veterans, energy, agriculture, small business and law enforcement.
“I have been really blessed, have an amazing staff,” she said. “There is no way to know everything; the people you surround yourself with are the ones that make the impact.”
In her first year of office, she said, her team solved more than 1,000 individual cases, with a success rate of 98 percent. In addition to the permanent physical offices, her staff held mobile office hours in every county in the district multiple times.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” she said. “I’m very blessed. It’s a great job for me – it fits. I think our moral fabric has become so threatened in our nation. I think we have got to where we have more faith in our government than we do in God, and we just need to start reversing it. I think its fixable.”